Stories Shared brings Faith Grown
21When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
23And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
24Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia.
25And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia,
26and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.
27And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
28And they remained no little time with the disciples.
One of the things that happens in our church at least once a year, often more than that, are reports from missionaries we support out in the field. They return to home base to share what God has done in their ministries. For me, these are always very moving and inspirational moments. Paul and Barnabas now return to the believing community that sent them out into the world to share what God has done through them while they were traveling.
Place yourself into the scene in Antioch when Paul comes back. The church gathers with great excitement to hear what has happened to these two men. Listen with the crowd as Paul tells of being stoned and restored. Share the joy as stories are told of people who were healed of lifelong diseases and ailments. Praise God with the community as news of countless Gentiles and Jews being saved is reported. The faith of the group swells as they take in all that God has done.
The same is true for us as well. When we share what God has done in our lives the faith of every hearer is boosted. There is so much joy in hearing someone tell how God has touched them, healed them, or helped them in some way. Yet often we are reticent to tell these stories and we shouldn’t be. Even the little things are worth sharing. Every time we heighten our awareness of God’s actions we are shining His light into a dark world. It sounds simple but it requires thought and intentionality. Maybe that will be a good goal for the next few days; speak out God’s actions and share what He’s doing, no matter how large or small.